The Financial Needs Analysis – Estate Planning and Wills
I have focussed on how the adviser and his resultant advice must always be centered around your unique objectives and circumstances, and the importance of a Financial needs analysis (FNA).
As I mentioned previously, the fundamentals of a holistic FNA are as follows:
- Estate planning, which includes estate liquidity, debt provision, capital provision and wills and trust planning
- Retirement planning, which includes pension/provident funds, retirement annuities, QROPS and investing for retirement
- Investment planning
- Cash flow and income tax
Estate planning would most often form the core of the FNA, with all the other aspects of financial planning being affected by, and affecting the estate plan. Each of us has an estate, because everyone has something that belongs to them – an asset. From a television or a cell phone to a property or an investment. Also, most of us have a liability or a debt of some sort. Whether it be credit card debt, a mortgage, hire-purchase or a personal loan.
All of these things form part of our personal estate. Now, while it is human nature to focus on and plan for the accumulation of these assets and liabilities, none of us can predict when we die and the consequential effects that it will have on not only our loved ones and dependants, but also the earthly things we leave behind.
At our death, our estates are left behind, and most often there are dependants who not only inherit those assets, but must also then live off them. An in-depth FNA must highlight the following aspects of your estate:
- The asset value of your estate and how these assets are impacted by costs and liabilities. Some of these costs are executors fees, estate duty and capital gains tax, to name a few
- Highlight how these costs and liabilities will be recouped from your estate
- The amount of capital that your dependants will need upon your immediate death, and how this compares to your net estate after liabilities and costs have been calculated
- If there is a capital shortfall in your estate and how it can be corrected
- The liquidity of your estate and how your assets can be used to provide a capital base and resultant income to your dependants
- Structuring your assets and your wishes correctly by means of a will
An estate plan is only effective if the implementation thereof is done properly. For that reason I believe that any estate plan, or a revision of an existing plan, must be accompanied by a will. A correctly structured will is the means by which an estate plan is executed and it will save the executor of your estate lots of time and effort to ensure that your dependants receive their inheritance quickly.
If you die without having a will in place, your estate will be inherited intestate. There are many rules regarding intestate succession, but suffice to say it is definitely not the most effective way of having your estate devolved upon your dependants.
It is vital to remember that simply because you have a current will, does not mean that it is executable. Unfortunately, very often wills have clauses that are contradicting, clauses that are phrased incorrectly or that are very vague. There may be reference in your will to assets that are no longer in your possession, or assets bequeathed to individuals that you no longer wish to include in your will.
Even though a will is typically viewed as a legal document, the financial implications and repercussions of not having the estate plan and will as a joint process can have enormous consequences.
Because of the reasons above, I provide my clients with an updated will as a value-added service with every implemented estate plan I do. I do this because I firmly believe that it is my responsibility as a financial adviser to ensure that the advice I provide, is not only implemented, but also executed properly.
If you have either a will or an estate plan, or both, I would highly recommend speaking to a professional financial adviser to ensure that the two are aligned from a financial and legal point of view.
Schonbergtrust Financial Brokers
Tel: 021 914 1047
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